Friday, December 4, 2015

Policy Change- Animals in the House

Hello all!  I'll be talking to each of you individually with any questions or concerns you might have regarding this issue, but the state standards, 747.3703 to be specific, say that I must provide information in writing as well.

My children have wanted a pet for years.  I don't want anything like a cat or dog that's going to be underfoot or leave hair around to make daycare difficult.  We'd like to get them guinea pigs for Christmas. (So please wait to discuss it with me until they are not around!)

Guinea pigs do not require any vaccinations or a statement of health from the vet- I've done all the research to make sure I'm still in compliance.  Here are the rules:

If you choose to have animals on the premises while children are in care, you must:
(1) Notify parents in writing when animals are or will be present;
(2) Ensure the animals do not create unsafe or unsanitary conditions;
(3) Ensure that children do not handle any animal that shows signs of illness, such as lethargy or diarrhea
(4) Ensure that caregivers and children practice good hygiene and hand washing after handling or coming into contact with an animal and items used by an animal, such as water bowls, food bowls, and cages.

We will be keeping their cage very clean, and I'm not going to allow my kids to take them out of the cage while the daycare kids are here.  There really won't be any contact.

The cage will be in the living room, so your kids will probably just wave at them on the way in and out every day.  Other than that it won't affect them much at all.

I want to find a scenario that makes all the families comfortable and still allows my kids this- I can't wait to surprise them on Christmas morning!!  Please talk to me with any questions or concerns you have so we can get everything worked out before the holidays.  Thanks!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015


So many fun things going on around here all the time!  And as usual, life goes by too fast to blog as often as I'd like.  In the world of 140 characters and soundbites, an actual blog post is harder to come by.  I have been trying to post photos and little snippets on the fb page more often, so hopefully that's at least something.

Maid Marian has graduated.  We got some cute pics of the big girls together on her last day.

Pearl and Bubbles are both almost/mostly walking!  There will be days where they both still crawl a lot, but they're up on their feet and trying and it's super cute.  Makes me happy.

Mowgli and Baymax are either home for summer or part time, just depending on the week.  (Mowgli is here today though and he's rocking the man bun which is SO FUNNY!!  He keeps moving and I can't get a good pic of it though.) It's odd to just have one full-time boy here.  I end up calling him Little Dude a lot.  Cinderella has started calling him that also.  She can't say his name very well and I think Dude is easier.  He needs a blog name.  Little Dude makes me think of Ratatouille, but I've already used Remy for somebody else and Linguini just doesn't seem awesome.  Still thinking on it.  He's a sweet kiddo- needs a good name!

Cinderella and Violet are best friends these days.  Whenever C gets up from her rest, the first thing she says is "Where Violet?  Up nap?"  Yesterday I had to tell her Violet had already left.  Oh, the big huff and the stink eye I got from that one!  "HMPH.  Violet bye bye?.... HMPH.  *big sigh* Where Pearl?"  At least she's willing to play with the other girls when Violet isn't around.  :)

Today I put them down for a nap in the same room for the first time.  They were both yawning and staggering around.  Somehow they found a second wind and had Dance Party Central instead of sleeping though.  After an hour of hoping they'd settle on their own, I went in with my stern face.  It's time to lay down and rest.  No more jumping.  They were less than thrilled.  But I think now they finally are sleeping.  At least I don't hear squealing and giggling like a slumber party anymore.

Cinderella is very quick to throw her buddies under the bus when it comes to who made the bad smell.  If she's clean and I ask who pooped, she'll back up to me and stick her bum out so I can check to be sure it's definitely not her.  If she's the culprit, she immediately tells me, "VIOLET POOP!"  Which is pretty much code for "it's totally me but I don't want to admit it."

She also thinks she should sit with Anna all the time, now that Maid Marian is not here to fight for the space.

Whatcha doing?  Email?  Looking at cute pictures you took of me?  Can I take another selfie?

Pearl is in the giggliest stage right now.  It's fabulous.  You just look at her and she busts out laughing.  She and Bubbles are both giving really good hugs these days too.  So much fun.

We have a new little girl who started this week- she's about the same age as Pearl and Bubbles.  Such a dolly girl.  She has Disney princess eyes- the kind I used to say nobody in real life actually has, because they're so big and wide and pretty with gorgeous lashes.  I take it back that no real girl has those.  I love them.  SO cute.

She's very smiley for us except when we try to take her picture.  :)  I haven't gotten very many happy shots yet, but she's a cheerful one- settling in and getting to know us.

Next week we have a teeny new bitty girl starting too- I can't wait!

Friday, May 8, 2015

Happy Mothers' Day!

We decided to try a new tactic with the girls and crafting this morning and it worked really well.  Usually I take them one at a time and let them create their own project, which is great except for the fact that all the others stand around and cry because it's not their turn, and the one who's working DOES cry when her turn is over.  So this morning we needed to make five Mother's Day gifts and we all worked together on all five of them.  They all got to craft for a long enough time that they felt okay with cleaning up when it was time, and I think it was helpful to discuss each mama as we went too.  "Okay, we're making this one for Maid Marian's mommy, isn't it pretty, do you think she will like it?  Bolt's mommy will love this one- look how fun it is to all help each other…" and so on.  

It involved ripping, which not a single one of them can do on command.  You don't usually think of tearing paper as a skill that needs to be learned, especially if your kids have ever gotten hold of an important paper that you DIDN'T want ripped up.  But it is a taught skill.  They were trying to Hulk Hogan the papers, you know, grab them by the ends and pull till they broke in the middle.  There's good motor skills involved in learning to hold it by the top and gently rip.  So I apologize if they got the hang of it too well…  :)  But it was fun to have them all circling around, and really I ended up doing most of the ripping anyway.  

After we finished all the papers, I showed them what the small brooms and dustpans in the playroom are actually supposed to be used for.  It was super cute to see them trying to brush the floor.  They stink at it, of course, but they try so hard to be helpful.  Even if it takes a lot longer than doing it yourself, it's so fun for them to get to do big kid stuff and help with grownup chores.

Happy Mother's Day to everyone!  I hope you have a fabulous weekend.  I'm not showing you the finished product so you still have a little surprise this evening.  Make sure you take your paper from the folders by the door!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

FAQ: Coxsackie

We're having a little bout of the coxsackie virus right now, also known as hand, foot and mouth disease.  This is something that can sound really alarming to parents if you aren't familiar with it, and my experience has been that "Dr. Google" can sometimes make things worse or confusing, depending on which site you land on.  I thought I'd just lay out a bit of our personal dealings with it to hopefully make you feel more at ease.

*Please keep in mind that I am *not* a medical professional of any kind, and that you should of course check with your child's pediatrician if you feel that your child would benefit from such.*

  • First off, it's a virus, so meds won't really help.  There's no antibiotic or anything that will make it go away quicker.  It's got to run its course.  
  • We haven't found that calamine lotion or benadryl helps much with the blisters either, but sometimes tylenol or motrin does seem to make them feel more comfortable.  Also helps with bringing the fever down if they have one.  It seems like about half the kids I see with it have fevers, and the other half either don't at all, or it's very mild.  Conflicting and frustrating.
  • It's terribly contagious, and we've been told that the contagion lingers for up to five days after blisters appear.  This can be super hard to judge because if they get the sores first inside their mouth, sometimes you don't see it right away and have NO idea they're contagious, and they run around sharing it with all their friends.  Also, sometimes the blisters are mild and you think it's not coxsackie, but really it is and they're contagious for four days or so AFTER you think they're better.  This can make it very hard to shake it off because if multiple kids are at different stages with it, it just hangs out and makes itself at home.  It also has an incubation period of 3-6 days, so sometimes they were exposed almost a week ago and can pass it along before symptoms pop up.
  • It's contagious through bodily fluids and also airborne.  Good times.  And it's allergy season so many of them have runny noses anyhow.  

The good news is:
  • it doesn't seem to be terribly bothersome to the kids unless they have a really severe case and feel itchy.  
  • we have good handwashing and sanitizing habits as a rule anyway, and are doing extra spraying and cleaning just as an added preventative this week
  • just because some kids who come here have it, that doesn't mean your child is bound to get it.  It's a fickle virus that flits around and doesn't land everywhere.  Please don't panic- if your child seems clear, they probably are.  We just want to educate you here, not make you feel fearful.  :)  I remember once when it turned up about two and a half years ago, only one child caught it.  Then six months later she caught it again and was still the only one.  Viruses are weird and unpredictable.  It's nothing you're doing or that we're doing- knowledge and prevention are our best tools but aren't always perfect!
The bad news is:
  • it can be very hard for us to get rid of it here if you come back to school before it's gone.  I know it's terribly inconvenient to take time off work or have to make other arrangements for multiple days, but we really can't have them back at school until they're no longer contagious.  This is where going to the doctor may be helpful.  Although it is a virus and you probably won't be given medication, they will have more expert knowledge on what stage the virus is likely in and can probably give you a better date on returning to school than we can.  We're practiced in dealing with it but we're not doctors.  If you choose not to take your child to the doctor but you're pretty sure it's coxsackie, please observe the "five days of contagion after spots" plan because that is what we've most frequently been told.
We are doing our best to help keep your babies healthy!  :)  Thank you.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Friday Focus: Bolt

Bolt is a good name choice for this girlie.  She is so fierce and tough and independent, but she still rocks her pink bows.  She makes me laugh every day.

She's on a wicked nap boycott lately- just doesn't feel like she needs to sleep much.  Some days she refuses to nap at ALL and yells at us when we try to put her to bed.  No tears, not sad,  The chick is angry.  Just yells.  The minute you get her up she's all sunshine again and just goes and goes.  She's very much The Little Engine That Could.  Much more than meets the eye.  :)  She's one that I could easily see being an Olympic gymnast.  She's wiry and strong and so determined.  Nobody's gonna tell her she can't do something.

And she's so snuggly and koala bear when she feels like it.  She settles in and holds on tight around your neck and just grips harder if you act like you're putting her down.  It's especially fun to snuggle her in her pink bear suit.  It's full length and has ears and feet and the whole shebang.  Pretty awesome.

Being as independent as she is, feeding her has been interesting the past month or so.  She would rather die than let us spoon anything into her mouth like a baby.  Although she sees no problem with eating oatmeal with her fingers… we sometimes do.  :)  It gets pretty messy but she has such a good time and it makes for really fun photos.  I didn't realize how many I have of her eating!

Not a fan of kale the first time we tried!

Her name is one that's pretty easy for the other kids to say and so she's kind of like Norm from Cheers.  She comes in and everybody yells her name.  When she gets picked up in the afternoons, Maid Marian will yell "BOLT!" and then run to her and pat her on the back, just to make sure that her dad knows which kid he's supposed to take with him.  It's hilarious.  The other day MM was out and he joked that he wasn't sure who to pick up without her help.

She just adds so much fun to our days!  We love you Miss Bolt!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Stuff and Things

  • The big girls will eat TONS of bell pepper and cucumber if I'm willing to just hand it to them a slice at a time while I'm standing at the chopping board.  They mill around my feet saying MORE and I just keep passing it out.  The minute I put them in chairs with a tray, they throw all the veggies on the floor.  Every single time.  Yesterday Cinderella ate twenty pepper slices and Violet ate five cucumber slices before they sat, and both ate nothing while sitting.  They do this every time so now I just do a first veggie course while we all stand in the kitchen.  It's weird but it totally works.
  • Our snow day policy says we are closed if schools are closed.  Really I wrote that thinking that there would not be two in a row, because even after living here 25 years I forget how quickly this state shuts down for a tiny bit of weather.  My feeling is this: if there's one snow day, I'm good with being closed.  Usually a lot of your offices are closed as well and it's just kind of fun to have an unexpected day at home for everyone.  If it runs over into more than one day, I'll be open.  Anna may or may not be able to get here, depending on what her apartment parking lot is like, but usually on a second day there are enough people still staying home that I'm in ratio alone, or else hubby is home too still.  
  • I'll also always post what's going on as my facebook status for Giant Steps- it's a public page and you can go like it if you haven't.  I can't invite you to like it unless we're already fb friends on my personal page.  (Also you can let family and friends know so they can see pics and stuff if they want to like it too.)
  • We have many new babies who need blog names.  I know one of the boys will be Mowgli but I'm still mulling over the others.  I spend a ridiculous amount of time on this but it's one of those small things that makes me happy.
  • Bolt's mom texted me accidentally the other day to ask me to put the trash out and tell me she loved me.  So I asked dad if he put the trash out when he came to drop Bolt off and the look of panic on his face was just really great.  I promise I'm not stalking y'all and I wouldn't know when trash day was otherwise, and it's okay that you forgot.  You didn't actually get the reminder, and anyway your trash can't be as stinky as mine is!  :)  
  • I've had forty blog posts rolling around in my head and now that I'm writing I can't think of anything else.  And this much has been in draft for a week.  Since there might be more snow coming, this could be stuff you need to know, so I better just post!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Friday Focus: Russell

I've had this post in draft for months because of the picture issue.  I just think posts are more fun with pictures.  But it's taking forever to work out the bugs and Russell is going to be leaving us soon, so I have no more time to wait.

He's getting a nanny that will come to his house!  I will say, one of my favorite non-baby things about this job is the zero commute, so I totally approve the idea of having one less place to go.  It'll be super easy for them to not have to trek over early, especially on rainy days.  We will miss him though.  :(

Russell is such a happy kid!  He's got the most awesome goofy grin and he just wanders around finding  stuff to do on his own.  He's mobile and pretty independent and he's perfectly fine to figure out his own entertainment.  I love when they do that- it's really fun to watch his mind at work.

Oh and of course, now that I try the pictures one last time, they work.

He really likes to put his head down on the girls' backs while they're trying to crawl.  He could pin them down pretty easily if he put his mind to it, but usually it's more like a fierce hug.

See?  Such a great smile.

He falls asleep in his breakfast on a semi-regular basis.  He eats fast and gets tired of waiting for his friends to hurry up and finish, so he just takes a snooze on the tray.

Nothing bothers him  So happy.

Sharing a toy with Mufasa.

This monster poncho pleases me so much.  I think, far more than it pleases him.  He looks so cute with it on though and he always gets compliments when I take him up to the school to get O'Malley wearing it.

We love you Russell!  Have a great time in your next adventures!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

2015 Closings

Here are our closings for this year.
Updated: no week off in summer.  New additions in red.

Friday, March 20- personal day
Friday, April 3- Good Friday
Monday, May 25- Memorial Day
Friday, July 3- 4th of July observed
Friday, July 17- closing at 3:30
Monday, August 10- personal day
Monday, September 7- Labor Day
Monday, October 12- personal day (Columbus/Fair day)
Wednesday, November 25- personal day
Thursday/Friday, November 26-27- Thanksgiving
Thursday, December 24- Christmas Eve
Friday, December 25- Christmas Day
Monday-Friday, December 28-January 2: closed for the week

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Eating the Good Stuff

Right now Russell and Pearl usually split a jar of food for breakfast.  Anna fed Pearl this morning but Russell fell asleep in his chair eating kix, so I didn't get to give him his official breakfast til he woke up.  I got his out of the fridge and started feeding it to him, carrying on my running conversation like I do.  "Look Russell!  Yum!  You're eating pineapple, pear, and avocado."

"WHAT?!? That is so weird," says Anna.  I ask her if she even read the name of it this morning, since she was the one who got it out to feed to Pearl.

"No, I just checked to see if it had acid and that's all."

"Wait.  Wow, that sounds awful.  Like we drug the babies!  Oh no!"  Silly things make us laugh, and it's yet another example of something that is totally normal in this job but would be extremely odd in another setting.  Pearl's been having a little trouble with citrus lately and so we check to see if there's added citric acid in the jars.  There wasn't, by the way.  

I'm having trouble getting pictures on here lately, which is part of why I haven't posted in so long- I like to put them up.  Too many posts with no pictures make me feel like it's just Too Long: Didn't Read.  Also I've been busy, and also lazy.  Let's just be honest.  Anyway, I'll try to be better with little anecdote stuff, even if I can't figure out the picture issue for a bit.